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Flying Kites for the Health of it!

Flying Kites for the Health of it!

Health Fitness Revolution shared Top Ten Benefits of Kite-Flying on their site  in April of 2015. There are other articles along the same line but Health Fitness Revolution put together  a pretty impressive list. Here are their Top 10 Health Benefits of Kite-Flying:
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Why I like flying kites

sharing kites with studentsI am often asked why in a world of drones would I still fly kites. I smile and often hand the lines to them to fly my kite and watch them discover their own answer!

I mean no disrespect to drone flyers because I think they are pretty cool. I like technology, but after careful reflection, I find that for me kites are ideal, and here are just a few reasons why:

1) Kites are low tech - what I mean is they are flown by mechanical means (i.e., lines) and not via screens or joysticks. Truth be told I have way more screen time than I need! For fear of turning into a bigger vidiot, and exacerbating the stress injury to my gaming thumbs I prefer kites!  Some of the best kites are the simple ones you can make yourself with newspaper and masking tape.

2) Kites are High Tech - in their own way - there is a lot of science and engineering in good quality kites. From high tech sail cloth to high-tech carbon frames along with geometry there is a lot that goes into a performance kite. Consider many sport kites allow you to change and interchange framing which changes the flight characteristics. Learning the tweaks for your kite can be a lot of fun and produce some pretty amazing results.

3) Crashes are not nearly as catastrophic - Parts to repair your kite are easily accessible from quality kite shops, and you can be back in the air pretty quick. Most repairs can be a successful do-it-yourself project saving time, money and adding some new crafty skills to your bag of tricks!

4) Speaking of tricks! - Have you seen the latest in slack line tricks and expressive quad line kite videos? Wow! Modern stunt kites are capable of some pretty cool maneuvres which require practice and precision. Even someone with few hours can tear up the sky with colour and motion that will attract an audience.

5) Strings attached? You bet! This is one of my favorites because it has strings Great Canadian Kite Company - Mike Roseattached - it provides multi-sensory feedback and interaction with your kite. Not only to see your kite you interact with it directly as you provide the input, and you receive feedback through the lines from the kite. In a counterintuitive way, this is a really grounded experience or maybe a better way to describe it is like a dance where you and your partner respond to each other with each step!

6) Colour your World - I LOVE the colour and the creativity of kites in the sky! If you have visited our Kite shop, you will have noticed the multiplicity of colours, sizes, and shapes and this makes for a dynamic hobby experience. A kite bag with a variety of kites provides a wonderful way to decorate the sky!

7) Quiet, please! - Kites, in general, are very quiet. No whining of engines, they simply ride the wind. In a world that is so darn noisy, it can be a reset to the mind to go quiet. The sound the wind in the trees, a slight whistle on the line makes for a great, stress reducing afternoon. Like a little growl? Some stunt kites make a deep rumble as the wind departs the trailing edge as they tear through the sky .

8) No Batteries required - Kites don't require batteries and as such aren't limited to 20-minute flights, and there is no need for a recharge. The Wind and the lines are all you need to fly - and wind and weather permitting... all day long!

9) There's a kite for that! - No wind? Too much wind? There's a kite for that. Remember I was talking about high-tech materials and engineering? You can get kites that you can learn to fly with no wind! Yep - zip, zero, zilch! We also have kites that are designed for higher winds too - we have a new model coming from Revolution that appears to have way less sail material than frame - like me in a bathing suit (don't picture it!) I have seen video's of this kite performing in very high winds and handling it very well!

Want a kite for water? To pull a kayak? Take pictures from? Pull you on the snow? There's a kite for that!

10) Stress buster! I'm an introvert, and as such, I spend a lot of time in my head. This can sometimes not be a good place to be! So I find going and flying a kite a great way to "get out of my head," get into the present moment and connect in a multi-tactile way with the world. The colours of the kite, actively flying my kite, giving it input to do what I want it to do and getting the feed back from the kite itself demands I stay present. I find this incredibly effective at reducing stress, and often getting a fresh perspective.

Great Canadian Kite Company - online kite storeThere are times where I will put mu earbuds in and listen to whatever kind of music I'm feeling at the moment and flying my kite to that music. It's kind of like dancing, but it allows me to express my inner state of mind through the kite. I can fly my stress out through the lines and the kite. In short order, that stress energy is replaced with a greater sense of peace and the way I fly changes. However you like to fly, I just encourage you to fly your soul, express yourself, and have fun!!

These have been just a few reasons we LOVE flying kites and why we LOVE to share kites with others!

At Great Canadian Kite Company, not only do we pride ourselves in providing a variety of quality kites for many different interests, ages and abilities, we also want to do our best to make sure your kite flying experience is great, and that means we do our best to provide a selection of kite flying tips and advice in our Kite Blog section. Browse our online Canadian kite shop to buy your kites online. We ship throughout Canada. 

Don't see what you are looking for? Have a kite related question? Drop us an email!

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Flag Pole as a Wind Meter for Kite Flying

Canada flag - Taber Alberta. KitesWhen I was a young stunt kite flyer I would regularly pull out my wind metre (I have owned and lost many) and check the wind.

In the early days, I'd tweak my kite often trying to get it locked in for the wind conditions. Anyone who has flown on the prairies knows the wind is fickle and if you don't like it - no worries it will change 27 times per half hour!

While it's good to have a sense of what the wind is doing speed wise if you're gonna tweak it continually you won't get much air time. For me, I work to be aware of the wind (I'll tell ya my secret here in a minute) but I learn to adjust my flying rather than over tweaking my bridle and or frames. I will fly in the parts of the wind window that feels right and where the kite flies well.

Yes, we need to be aware of wind changes, and the dramatic changes you'll feel pretty fast but this simple trick helps me stay aware of wind direction, and changes in speed by watching flags. Whether I am flying or not I have the habit of watching flags on flag poles. I have learned by the behavior; angles and even the sound of a flag and this helps me evaluate wind conditions.



Watch a flag on a flag pole:

  • If the flag is limp with a little flutter the wind is typically less than 5 kph
  • As wind increase, the angle of the flag relative to the flag pole changes. So we can learn to estimate that angle.
  • If the flag is at a 45-degree angle then the wind speed is about 20 kph. If it is straight out, at 90 degrees you can estimate the wind at about 35-40 kph.
  • With this in mind, we can estimate the wind speed at other angles. At 22 or 75 degrees relative to the flag pole.
  • Is the flag is straight out (90 degrees relative to the flag pole) and is making a soft fluttering sound you know you are 40 - 50 kph and if the flag is making a hard, snapping sound you are upwards of 50 kph.


I'm aware that these are guess-timates at best and some may disagree with my estimations. The point is to develop your own wind sense relative to a nearby flag and flag pole and what your kite is telling you.

No flag or flag pole? I have wind feathers with streamer tails that work well too. There have been times where I have used a 1.4 inch, 4-foot piece of dowel with an eight-foot piece of surveyors tape tied to the end. I shoved it in the ground in a place where I could see it and it wasn't in the way. It worked well.

Typically, most consumer kites top out at 40 kph. When you fly them in higher than recommended wind they tend to be faster, harder to control and you risk damaging the sail, the frame or breaking the line. Good news though! There are kites that are built, designed and rated for higher winds - so not to worry. There's a kite for that!


At Great Canadian Kite Company, not only do we pride ourselves in providing a variety of quality kites for many different interests, ages and abilities, we also want to do our best to make sure your kite flying experience is great, and that means we do our best to provide a selection of kite flying tips and advice in our Kite Blog section. Browse our online Canadian kite shop to buy your kites online. We ship throughout Canada. 

Don't see what you are looking for? Have a kite related question? Drop us an email!

Read more →

Meet John Barresi - Kite Innovator, Aficionado, Ambassador

John Barresi flying B-Series - B2 quad line kite

I think what makes the difference between a good hobby and a GREAT one is the people you meet and get to share time with.   I have had the pleasure of meeting a few fine individuals on kite fields, and one such is John Barresi.

I have had the privilege of getting to know John personally over the past ten years, and my respect and admiration seems to increase with each meeting.  Not only is he an amazing kite flier, but I have also found him to be a thoughtful, relationally generous, kind soul. 

I joke that John could fly the hood of a car - he's just that good with a kite.  In his forties, John has been flying kites since he was fifteen.   His list of accomplishments are legion - National Championships (7x American Kite Magazine Circuit (cumulative season) 19x AKA Grand Nationals (single event face off))

    Also, John has been active and innovating in the kite industry, kite associations, and kite events.  He has participated in kite events in over a dozen countries.  Not just a very skilled, creative flyer he is a true ambassador of the sport.

    Many people know John from his popular online Kitelife.com and his extensive online video kite tutorials, both free and on a subscription basis.   Kitelife.com is one of the most trusted and significant sources of multi-line kite information anywhere.  

    John is also highly regarded for his work with IQuad. In 2006, John co-founded iQuad and together they prolifically promoted the world of Rev team flying which ultimately led to the creation of his Signature Series with Revolution Kites in 2007 (the B-Series)… This later spawned the B-Pro (2008) and larger Zen kites (2010) which are handmade exclusively by teammate and kite maker extraordinaire Bazzer Poulter.  Barresi, not being content with "good enough" saw another innovation in 2011 with the B-Series Xtra Vent and smaller, nimble B-2.

    After performing at over 125 events worldwide in just seven years, Team iQuad disbanded peacefully in September of 2013.

    If the great outdoors and west coast breeze didn't provide enough opportunity for quality airtime, Barresi also flies indoors. Flying indoors since 1992, John is a master with the Indoor Rev, dual line or various gliders.  Together with his charming wife TK and teammate Spence Watson, he co-founded the indoor show team FlyForm in January of 2012 with an explosive debut routine set to “Pump It” by the Black Eyed Peas.



    Personally,  in addition to all the above (and much more - American Kitefliers Association, Kite Trade Industry Association)) what impresses me most about John Barresi is his generosity of spirit.   I have had several opportunities to share a kite field at festivals with JB, and one can't help but notice how even in the midst a demanding demonstration schedule, John is often found out on the public flying fields giving folks the opportunity to fly his kite, provide one-on-one instruction, and advice to young and old alike.  Barresi is an effective communicator with infectious joy of kites, which in my books makes him a top notch spokesmen for the kite industry and a great guy to share a flying field with.

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    What is a Wind Shadow and how it impacts Kites

    What is a Wind Shadow and how it impacts Kites

    Choosing an appropriate flying location for your kites is often given little thought.  For many, they look at the trees or a flag flapping in the breeze and decide to head to their local green space to fly kites. But did you know that the landscape (topography) of the flying locations has a huge impact on your kite performance?

    Trees, hills, and buildings affect the quality of the wind you have in the typical flying zone and can thwart the successful launch of even some of the best kites.  On the prairies, I often describe the wind as "trashy" and by this mean it is not smooth, rather it is gusty or rolling and choppy. 

    There is another term to describe this phenomenon - Wind Shadow.  Wind Shadow is the term used to describe the disturbed airflow downwind of obstructions like trees, hills and buildings.  

    Think of it this way; have you ever stood behind a tree or a building to escape  a cold wind?   The obstacle blocks the wind forcing the airflow to go around, under or over the obstacle. It is this air movement that creates disturbed (flakey, choppy, trashy) air flow.  This wind is often swirling and rotating which can sometimes create down drafts that can keep your kite from taking flight.


    Learn more: Understanding the Wind Window


    Flying field selection is key and this means being aware of what's around you.  The rule of thumb is a wind shadow is approximately 7 times the height of the obstacle.  So, if a building is 20ft tall, it is a good idea to launch your kite 140ft down wind of the building.

     

    Wind shadow affect on kites

    Careful flying field selection and paying attention to recommended kite wind ranges becomes even more important when we fly performance stunt kites - where we are looking for smooth steady airflow. It becomes a significant safety consideration when flying large traction kites.  Being aware of the impact of the Wind Shadow can go a long way to making your kite flying successful!

    At Great Canadian Kite Company, not only do we we pride ourselves in providing a variety of quality kites for many different interests, ages and abilities, we also want to do our best to make sure your kite flying experience is great, and that means we do our best to provide a selection of kite flying tips and advice in our Kite Resources section. Browse our online Canadian kite shop to buy your kites online. We ship throughout Canada.  

    Don't see what you are looking for? Have a kite related question?  
    Drop us an email!

    Read more →